Redgate addresses the growing challenge of database provisioning

SQL Clone creates full copies of SQL Server databases and backups in seconds, yet uses only a tiny fraction of disk space. By doing so, it allows companies to provision copies for development, testing and diagnostics quickly and easily.

The copies, or clones, which are only around 40MB in size for a 1TB database, work just like normal databases and can be connected to and edited using any program. By saving time and disk space, it enables teams to work locally on up-to-date, isolated copies of the database and speed up development, accurately test code using realistic data, and fix issues faster.

When SQL Clone was originally developed, it was built around Microsoft’s proven virtual hard disk (VHD) technology, which has a 2TB storage limit. An increasing number of customers, however, particularly in the healthcare and finance sectors, have asked for a higher storage limit.

SQL Clone v2 was therefore developed to work with VHDX, the Hyper-V virtual hard disk format used in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 upwards that has an increased storage capacity of 64TB.

“This was the next natural step for SQL Clone,” says Richard Macaskill, Redgate Product Manager. “VHDX has proved to be stable and resilient and the big jump in capacity is more than enough for the foreseeable future. Most of the companies asking for a higher limit have databases of three to five terabytes.”

While Redgate’s SQL Server Database Provisioning Report 2017 showed that only 12% of companies have databases bigger than 2TB in their dev or test environments, this small group has the greatest need for a tool like SQL Clone. Because provisioning copies of large databases takes a lot more time, not to mention disk space, it limits the opportunities for development teams to access them.

A private build of SQL Clone v2 has already been tested and evaluated by a major UK organization on a database bigger than the previous 2TB limit and its performance is little different compared to working with…

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